Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Talking With . . . Homer & Lillian Drinkwater in 2000

Talking With . . . Homer & Lillian Drinkwater in 2000
Oral History Interview in 2000 with Homer Drinkwater, Gilda Lillian Canclini Drinkwater, Steve Jordan (behind) and students Joshua Novakov Lawlor, Mandela Linder, and Lola Thornton of Mendocino Middle School. Back in 2000, students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School created an oral history project with a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin. They interviewed and recorded twelve “Old Timers” who told these children what it was like living on the Mendocino Coast in the 20th century. Two decades[... see full page]

Mendocino County's Japanese Americans

Mendocino County's Japanese Americans
Residents of Mendocino County leaving Ukiah, CA in 1942 for a Japanese prison camp in Colorado during World War II. Pictured, left to right: Mr. & Mrs. Sam Wada and Mr. & Mrs. Joe Onomiya of Ukiah; Mrs. & Mr. Frank Wada of Hopland. (Photo Courtesy of Held-Poage Research Library, Ukiah) The current Kelley House Museum exhibit, “The Story of Look Tin Eli: Exclusion and Citizenship on the Mendocino Coast,” explores the fight for citizenship by Mendocino’s Asian-Americans. It begins[... see full page]

China Towns of California

China Towns of California
Mendocino’s “Chinatown,” located on the south side of West Main Street, as shown on the 1890 Sanborn-Perris map. This land is now a part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park. The Chinese laundry seen here at the corner of Main and Kasten Streets was replaced with a bank building in 1908, and is now the “Out of This World” store. For the current exhibition concerning Chinese on the Mendocino Coast, the Kelley House Museum has set out in a glass display[... see full page]

Kids Nowadays!

Kids Nowadays!
Hunter Fields hard at work in the Kelley House Museum When I met with Hunter Fields last week in the Kelley House Office, he was organizing two file boxes of CDs with old-timer interviews.  Hunter is a high school student who volunteers with Kelley House a few hours per week in order to fulfill his community service requirement.  He is going to graduate from dear old Mendocino High tomorrow, so congratulations are in order, but we don’t want him to move[... see full page]

Sunday Afternoon with... Look Tin Eli

Sunday Afternoon with... Look Tin Eli
Look Tin Eli, circa 1910 (courtesy of the Look Family) The story of Look Tin Eli begins in Mendocino, California, in 1870. Born and raised on the rugged headlands of the north coast, as a child Tin could stand 70 feet above the pounding surf and look out over the Pacific Ocean, watching steamers and schooners coming in and out of Mendocino Bay below him.  At this time, Mendocino was a small shipping port for lumber, which was hauled out of the[... see full page]

“Tiny Houses” in the Redwoods a Century Ago

“Tiny Houses” in the Redwoods a Century Ago
Moving buildings from one logging camp to another near Big River. (William Ferrill Collection, Kelley House Museum archives) If you want to see three words together that might clash with each other, try “logging camp” and “cute.” But I don't care what anyone says, if you look at logging camp cabins being transported on railroad flat cars they are CUTE. When logging operations a century ago were miles from mills or towns in roadless areas only accessible by logging railroad, getting loggers[... see full page]